Wednesday, August 01, 2007 Actually Values Complete Privacy of Users

I'd like to give a very big THANK YOU to for taking action to bring a major easy-to-use privacy feature on their search engine by the end of this year. Some of you may have heard, the feature will be called 'AskEraser' and it will enable users to turn storage of their search history on and off.

As CEO Jim Lanzone says: "Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, and we're committed to being open and transparent about how such information is used. But we also understand that there are some who are interested in new tools that will help protect their privacy further, and we will give them that control on"

Currently all of your search history data is stored for 18 months, similar to Google's privacy policy, but not when you have AskEraser turned on. Choice is important, and even more important is making those choices user-friendly. Hopefully Google, Yahoo, and MSN will follow suit otherwise, I'll be using a little more often along with many others who value their privacy. Press release

The Constancy of Shamelessness

I frequent political message boards. They used to be places where intelligent people could discuss political issues. Politics itself used to value discussion. We all like to believe we live in a world, and a country, where tolerance and acceptance have become common and wanted. But more and more we're forced to see bigotry creeping in like a reigniting torch on a lawn that for a time was only smoldering. I can't scroll down the political forum without seeing several anti-Islam, anti-Judaism, anti-lib, anti-con, and anti-everyone posts. But, the strangest thing I've recently noticed is the barrage of anti-feminism comments.

I see posts that actually say women shouldn't work, that they need men to take care of them, and that they are trying to destroy America. Obviously posts like that come from people will their own problems and issues. But ideas like that come from a place that can only be taught. And I'm forced to wonder, what does our ability to educate complete strangers through dialog and rational conversation say about the fact that foolish, sexist ideas perpetuated only by the ignorant still exist?

Some more paranoid Liberals I've heard say it's part of a plot by the right to galvanize their white male base; especially in the coming fight against Hillary Clinton. Given the things I've seen politically inclined people do in my lifetime I wouldn't put it past anyone to manipulate hatred for their own goals. But I see the facts as being far more simplistic.

Opportunism is the most prevalent thing the world. (Think about that statement, it makes sense.) And that leads to the worst things we all do. The Internet opens men who already have biases against women to moronic websites like And the exceptionally well-scripted --for the purpose of playing on fear and anger-- text inspires the fools to action. It's sad.

I can't say either side of the isle is above playing on people's emotions. I can't even say I've never done it. I can't provide reasons for hate or bias. And I can't say I'm not exceptionally offended by these sexist posters because of my own personal attitudes even beyond what offense any logical being would feel. But I can end a post like this with an urge to all intelligent, reasonable people to call these deluded souls on how insipid they are. I suppose support like that is the best I can hope for.